3 years watching blueberries grow smaller each season, followed by 3 years improving the soil and 2 more years as the plants finaly grew to size. This will be by far the best crop of blueberries I ever grew. To bad I moved 250 miles away from the plant and wont get to taste them.
Heavy crop in Kentucky. Maybe enough for the birds and me too!
Can you tell me how to improve berries? I have 2 year olds and small berries too. I know I did everything wrong!
Other than acidifying fertilizer, and enough soil moisture that they don’t wilt and/or die…patience. Most little plants don’t bear much…but when they get 3 feet or 6 feet tall…with 20 plants you won’t be able to eat them all unless you have a large family. (I know tht’s pretty general…and some varieties are truly dwarfish…but over thinking and trying to hurry doesn’t seem to work well with blueberries.
That might be an exception with zone 9 and zone 10 shouthern highbush…I don’t know as I’ve not grown any in the far south.
When I took over management of my grandfather’s blueberry patches (since sold!), the back patch was left for the birds and 18 plants of varying quality were what I kept. One of the plants was prolific but the berries were so small I hardly bothered picking them. One plant had the tastiest berries but no more than a handful or two over the course of a few weeks. Two of them were just small (~4ft) plants that ripened unevenly which made it slower to pick for me. The rest were varying degrees of good to excellent. After the amount eaten over the picking season (which was a lot) and whatever fell to the ground or went to the birds that got through the netting, I’d still stuff around 120 quart sized freezer bags with blueberries. That’s enough for most normal families to use for a few years at least.
A contractor who did some work around my house raves about one of his customer’s blueberries. She only has 4 plants but still claims to get 60 pounds every year, which is more than she needs. For most people 4 good plants is probably enough.
This should be expanded on a bit. Prime soil for a blueberry’s is 50/50 Sand and organics. The two best organic amendments are pine straw(needles) and peat moss. Blueberry soil needs to be acidic. There are several ways of lowering your PH, first is the natural acidity of an from the break down of pine and peat moss. Second are fast and slow acting acidifying compounds. Fast would be something like Epsoma’s Soil Acidifier which is 80% gypsum and 18% elemental sulfur. Slow would be Elemental sulfur and Epsoma’s Holly Tone, which contains the bacteria that will over several years consumer elemental sulfur and turn it into any of a number of active sulfur compounds further that remain in the soil.
My DC (moms house) soil was pure clay so I amended with quite a bit of peat moss, soil acidifier, elemental sulfur and toped it off with Holly Tone. I also mulch with Pine Bark chips as pine straw is not available for me. The replanted blueberries have been getting stronger and healthier every year since. I have not retreated the area.
Normally if you just add compost to the top of plants earth worms will turn it over improving the subsoil. In the case of blueberries and the soil needing to be acid worms do not like that environment so that wont happen. Actualy improving the soil with peat or pine is necessary or creating a 2" layer of new prime soil on top of the shallow root system.
Elemental sulfur can be found cheep on amazon.
Oh that is helpful.
So I planted three last year and do you suppose since small I could dig them up and improve the same hole?
They are done flowering and have set tiny fruit not near ready yet.
Yes our soil is very clay too.
Yes you can replant Blueberries as they are very shallow rooted. But I would not do it this time of year the heat and stress would kill them. Cover the plants with 2" of just peat moss and soil acidifier and holly tone. Improve the hole in the fall.
I have peat moss! I got some when tree planting this spring. I will check my shed if I have any fertilizer left. I have seen in this forum holly tone but swear I have never heard of it before. I will check if my garden store has it.
I am very patient, pretty much known for that around coworkers who are anything but. I just do not want to wait too long to make the berry plants feel better.
Water is no issue in NW WA. DC gets sheets of rain and is hot in summer, I lived there on Florida Ave. But here in Vancouver, WA it does not. We get mist and dew and sprinkles randomly, the weather report is always wrong. In DC I had to use an umbrella, but here it has no use really. But our summers are far less hot, and not humid like DC. My weather last week was 80, this week 60. It fluctuates.
I just planted two blueberries in containers using the DWN guide on mixing the soil and the ph is around 7. As I understand it take the sulfur and acidic fertilizer time to lower the ph. Is there anything I should do to lower the ph quicker? Or just wait for it to go down slowly on its own?
Don’t put to much stake in acid fertilizers. Acid loving plants can’t process all forms of nitrogen which is true but what they do like is simple Urea. Acid fertilizers wont contain calcium which would raise your PH but they also don’t contain Sulfur which would lower PH. Once and added sulfur is processed by bacteria and turned into organic sulfur compounds its there to stay unless neutralized. So there is no point putting it to fertilizers perpetually lowering PH. You can see the comments I made a few posts back for all the things you could possibly do.
I mixed together an azalea potting soil, pear moss, and pathway bark, down to earth acid mix fertilizer which contains sulfur and tablespoon or less of epsoma sulfur. So how long should it take for the ph to come down? Of course the soil they were in when were bought was high in ph and not amended. Could I some epsoma on the surface?
The bacteria occur everywhere but add holly tone to be sure. Check now check in 6 months. You can use epsoma soil acidifier or anything that blues up hydrangeas. But at this point you just need to wait. Amendments just add one or two forms of sulfur compounds balanced soil takes time.
Vinegar will lower the pH for a little while,about a half cup per gallon of water.bb
Yes, my comment was pretty general. But, I have found 6.5 pH works fine for some varieties…and clay soil or even wettish feet work for some varieties.
So, without getting into specific cultivated varieties…a general comment was the way I felt like going with the topic. I have about 20 varieties…some in containers. Some are loaded, including a Misty (although I’ve lost the tag, so can’t be positive of the ID…
Some people do a straight 50/50 mix of peat moss and pine bark mulch.
Will the blueberries survive in their current environment while waiting for the soil ph to slowly lower? I assume they won’t thrive thereby reducing fruit set for next year. I have Emerald and Southmoon. Also is there a site that lists harvest dates?
Also in my mix I used medium orchid bark. Will this be a major problem? I mixed together a third azalea potting soil, a third peat moss, and a 1/3 orchid bark.
So I had to look up Azalea potting soil and it has the bacteria you need so you would not need holly tone. Orchid bark is just expensive pine bark mulch and peat moss is all standard. You have a 100/0 mix of organics. I can’t really say not having sand or clay in the mix will do any harm. When its moist its moist and when it dry’s it will sometimes take a while to remoisten. The one thing I can tell you to do right now is to do nothing (other then water regularly with collected rain water not tap). Eventualy your soil will start to lose volume you can add sand and more organics over time.
I suggest adding Soil Moist granules to fake soils in pots because it will collect exccess water and release slowly to roots. It worked for me so well I began adding outside to garden soil this year. I think my small garden will look good in August because of it.